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Alfred Allen Paul Curtis (July 4, 1831—July 11, 1908) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Wilmington (1886-1896) and Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore (1897-1908).

Biography

Alfred Curtis was born near Rehobeth in Somerset County, Maryland, to Episcopalian parents.[1] He attended the country school his father had founded, but taught himself Latin, Greek, and Shakespeare.[2] Following his father's death in 1849, he became an assistant teacher at an academy in Princess Anne to support his mother and siblings.[2] He began studying for the ministry in 1855, and was ordained a deacon in 1856 and afterwards a priest in 1859.[2] He then worked as an assistant at St. Luke's Church in Baltimore, from where he was transferred to Frederick County and then to Chestertown, Kent County.[2]

In 1862 he was elected rector of Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore.[2] He gradually became more Catholic in his beliefs and practices, to the dismay of Bishop William Rollinson Whittingham.[2] He eventually resigned as rector in 1871 and then went to England, where he was received into the Catholic Church by Dr. John Henry Newman on May 18, 1872.[1] [3] Curtis returned to Baltimore later that year, entering St. Mary's Seminary.[1] He was ordained a Catholic priest by Archbishop James Roosevelt Bayley on December 19, 1874.[3] He then served as Archbishop Bayley's private secretary and an assistant at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.[2] (Please review where he served; Cathedral of Mary Our Queen didn't exist until the 1950s.)

On August 3, 1886, Curits was appointed the second Bishop of Wilmington, Delaware, by Pope Leo XIII.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 14 from Cardinal James Gibbons, with Bishops John Moore and John Joseph Kain serving as co-consecrators, in Baltimore.[3] He was installed at St. Peter's Cathedral in Wilmington on November 21, 1886.[3] During his tenure, he introduced the Josephite Fathers into the diocese to minister to African American Catholics, for whom he also built St. Joseph Church, an orphanage, and a parochial school.[4] He also erected a cloistered convent for the Sisters of the Visitation.[1]

After ten years as bishop, Curtis resigned due to poor health on May 23, 1896; he was appointed Titular Bishop of Echinus on the same date.[3] He left the diocese with 25,000 Catholics, thirty priests, twenty-two churches and eighteen missions, twelve seminarians, eight religious communities, three academies, nine parochial schools, and three orphanages.[4] He became an auxiliary bishop of Baltimore in 1897, and assisted Cardinal Gibbons with performing ordinations and confirmations.[2] He later died from cancer at St. Agnes Hospital, aged 77.[2] At his own request, his remains were buried at Visitation Monastery in Wilmington.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Diocese of Wilmington". Catholic Encyclopedia. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15646c.htm. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 The Sisters of the Visitation of Wilmington (1913). The Life and Characteristics of Right Reverend Alfred A. Curtis, D.D.. New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Bishop Alfred Allen Paul Curtis". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/bcurtisa.html. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "A Brief History of the Diocese of Wilmington". Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington. http://www.cdow.org/cdowhistory.html. 



Preceded by
Thomas Albert Andrew Becker
Bishop of Wilmington
1886—1896
Succeeded by
John James Joseph Monaghan

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